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Posted on: May 13, 2020

Covid-19 Update from the City Manager

As reported yesterday by the County of Mendocino, we are very pleased to announce that the state is providing Mendocino County with a state-sponsored testing site that will be able to actually process the test results within 48 hours.  This is vitally important because it will help Mendocino County achieve the metrics necessary for re-opening, because we will be able to process 134 tests per day.  While this unit will likely be situated in Ukiah, it is expected that we can continue to do tests throughout the County and be able to bring them to that lab for processing. We can give out more information as we receive it.

The Senior Center, the County and the City have been planning for surveillance testing in Willits. We are trying to button down a date with the County for either next week or the following week.  This is for non-symptomatic people only. Once we receive confirmation, we will announce to any members of the public who would like to make an appointment to be tested. We are aiming for between 20 and 30 slots for the public. Howard Hospital is also trying to do their own testing of the homeless in our community, which I believe is still on track.  The County is trying to coordinate with the Hospital on this.

Friday, we are expecting new orders from the Public Health Officer with slightly more opening in accordance with the governor’s message yesterday.  The main focus, when the Public Health Officer was asked, would be landscaping and dog grooming.  Also, she would like to see children’s swim classes open up, as long as there are stable groups of less than 12, with all the proper precautions.  There will still be no lap swimming allowed and no adult swimming. We have begun coordinating with the city pool manager to see if and when we can open our pool for lessons for children and prepare for any other activities that may be allowed. We have not received the amended order yet, but our pool manager is going to be working on a plan to have lifeguards, safety standards, etc., to the extent we can prepare at this point without an order.

The dog park will be opened on Friday.  We worked through the rain to mow both areas so it should be ready to go on Friday.  

As for businesses, the public health officer related that we did enter stage 2 and that the situation will continue to evolve.  For businesses allowed to re-open, there is a five step process that they need to go through, pursuant to state mandate, for risk assessment and prevention strategies. The West Company is actively assisting businesses in this process, and we encourage them to work with West on this. We post everything that West is offering on our website and on our Facebook page.  Dr. Doohan says that she is currently working on a toolkit for businesses to assist them in their re-opening and to help answer questions. 

Again a new order will come out this Friday.  On the 25th of May, the public health officer expects another order. If we reach stage 2.5, that will further re-open businesses and will likely allow restaurants to offer outdoor dining under certain guidelines. This is going to entail a lot of work for everyone to properly prepare. One thing she mentioned is that businesses would need to have a "touchless payment system," no salt and pepper shakers or condiments for communal use, and silverware would be individually given out, not laid on the table. Again, we do not know all the details, but they will be forthcoming with future orders from the County. 

Anytime people have questions regarding details of the Public Health Orders, we encourage them to contact the Covid-19 call center for the County, which is 707-234-6052.  

Thank you!

Stephanie Garrabrant-Sierra
City Manager

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